Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sometimes There Are Things Even *I* Don't Talk About... BUT

Cancer wrecks a lot. We already knew that didn't we? It can cause you to rediscover friends, to make new friends, it can also cause some friends to turn tail and run far away from you. Collateral damage is not unheard of.

What about those who can't leave? Your parents... Let's get THAT out of the way now... no parent worth ANYTHING would leave a child (no matter how old their child is) after a cancer diagnosis. What about spouses? The deeper this thing goes- it's been 2 years now- the stronger that question becomes.
Should spouses get an 'out' if their husband or wife is diagnosed with cancer? Your first reaction is "NO, Of course not!" but hear me out... What if things were rocky before? What if it's almost making existence MORE miserable to stay together? Cancer isn't like nursing a cold for a week and "Can I get you some soup from a can?" and you're done. NO. It's forever. Once you have cancer- you're forever a survivor. Whether it was a mole removed or a breast or a leg. Cancer is cancer- and it's scary as hell. Watching a loved one go through it SUCKS. It's coming up on a year since my sister's surgery to remove all her cervical cancer and it STILL bothers me to think about it. I can only imagine what goes through the minds of the people that care about me. My entire existence hinged on an experimental vaccine.

I think spouses should get a 'Get out of Jail Free' card to say "I can't handle this... I'm not cut out for it." OR "Our relationship is not strong enough to survive this."
And they shouldn't catch any shit for it. They deserve to be happy just as much as the Survivor does.
I'm wondering if my husband would like a card. He does more around the house than he's ever done in his life. He seems totally miserable and he hides things from me. He seems to distance himself. At times I think life for both of us might be easier apart.
I know my diagnosis has been hard on him and 2 years on, I don't think he has figured out how to cope with it.

No, it's not fair to those of us who HAVE to deal with it- but if friends of mine can turn tail and run, why can't a husband/wife? Cancer sucks and I think if someone wanted to and CAN get away from it they should be allowed to. Cancer shouldn't be able to screw with everybody.

That's my thoughts for the day... and yes, this is the day after a fight with the husband. I don't normally discuss my marriage here because it's been less than stellar and I know some of you personally and I don't like airing the marriage 'dirty laundry' here because it comes off like I'm badmouthing him. Plus, he'd be pissed that I even talked about it. But I know he doesn't read this.
But, this is MY blog. This is MY outlet. This is where I come to talk about what I need to talk about. And I needed to get it off my chest.


  1. Everything you say is absolutely true but the decision not to live through cancer of a loved one or friend should come from that person.....it is not easy for anyone and so many emotions are involved. I really don't think any decision should be made when emotions are running high....remember no marriage either with or without cancer involved is ever perfect. Everyone marriage has bad/hard times......good luck sweetie, all will work out. Sending big hugs and many prayers....:-(

  2. You are right this is your blog and this is where you can talk freely.
    Just don't give up on your marriage, please! I am SURE you can get through this and you guys will have time to work on your marriage again!
    I am not sure what I say here helps, but don't give up on yourself or your marriage just so soon.
    I think you are thinking too much because you assume you won't survive.
    Cope with life and your marriage now. Kick cancer's ass, and then fix your marriage.

  3. A different point of view.... My wife was already on her way out of the marriage (she found a better offer with a co-worker of hers--a total surprise to me and mutual friends/family, but isn't it always?) when I was diagnosed. She said she'd stay for my first cancer surgery (which required a month at home recovery). It was awful. To lay on the sofa trying to rest and heal, but knowing she was upstairs--she worked from home--talking on the phone to her new "friend" was just freaking awful. That's the only word I can think of... awful. It could not have been good for my health, physical or mental.

    I now wish she had left before that first surgery, or I had the guts to ask her to leave. She left after I got back on my feet, and before the second, more serious cancer surgery and treatment. Yeah, I was sad and lonely after my second surgery, spending a month in the hospital and about 6 weeks at home recovering (thank God for my parents and friends), but it was for the best. For me. I found out a lot about my character, her character (you think you'd know someone after 16 years), and the character of my friends and family. Turned out to be a blessing, believe it or not. (I presume she is happier too.)

    So, throw that in the mix.... For what it is worth. These things aren't as easy as "fix your marriage," although people mean well when they say that. Perhaps consider taking some sort of breather for the two of you. Often that's the only way to save a marriage. Or at least you get the pain over sooner.

    I am not pessimistic about love or marriage. I am happy, actually. But I am a realist. I thought about sending this in a private email to you, Rachel, but thought I should post it publicly.

    Thinking of you!


  4. Yes, what Dan says has merit. If the relationship is already 'terminal' in its own right, adding the stress of cancer, whether or not the dx is 'terminal,' is an equation that could just work out to 1-1 = happier times for both. However, making decisions after a fight is not good.

    Have you considered marriage counseling? My relative went through that after a terminal dx with MM and the couple really benefitted from it all, making the relationship tighter and happier for both. And so the terminal dx still stands, but because of the health of the relationship, the dx timeline has been extended significantly - who says that love doesn't heal?

    So, a "Get-Outta Dodge" card is one option, but not to be taken lightly. It sounds as if your husband is depressed, and so counseling would likely help that, plus taking "SEPIA" which is a homeopathic (found at whole Foods, etc. type stores) mood enhancer might lift his spirits a little. He may have a right to be depressed with all that a dx like yours represents, but he doesn't have the right to continue without some kind of assistance to adjust his attitude for his well-being and yours...not to mention the kiddos!

    I am intending that these posts offer you some direction and solutions which make the marital life a little more pleasant for both of you, for the highest and best good of all concerned...so be it and SO IT IS...whooooo! Amen.

  5. Here are my two cents (actually value may or may not be more), and the advice I give to people all the time:
    -when you don't know what to do, ie emotions running high, make no sudden moves
    -if there are parts of a relationship that you still would like to go back to, you are still in it. If not..........like Whoopie said: "you in trouble girl"

    People change according to their circumstances, and should not be blamed for that. But don't make the assumption that he wants an "out card," just deal with whether or not you do.

  6. Wow, Rachel. You really are experiencing things that a lot of us never have. Thanks for keeping your heart and mind open and thanks for sharing.

  7. I recommend marriage counseling. My husband and I are doing it and it has really helped. I made sure we got a man becaue I'm not all touchy-feely emotional and I didn't want a woman being all-let's talk about feelings, blah, blah, blah. So, we got a man and you know they can be very black and white-here's the problem, here are the ways to solve it, what are you going to do now. Done...Check into it. Sometimes when we go, I talk about my baby daddies or my childhood and how it sucked or whatever else is on my mind. So, it doesn't always have to be about your marriage either. One time I spent almost our entire session talking about my friend's marriage because I hate the way her husband treatsher. It was a safe place to vent. So, like I said, it's good to just go and talk. When we leave, we always feel closer-like we know each other better. This being said-both of us have been unfaithful-me once early in the marriage and him repeatedly and he has already left me twice. So, I might say our marriage seemed doomed, but is the best it has ever been right now. That's my "two cents" nd I hope it helps.

  8. This is a very emotionally charged piece. I guess people really react differently to the news of cancer. Some would be more than willing to bear it, while some are easily frustrated by it. That is why I am always praying for people to get successful cancer treatments to avoid having to face this terrible dilemma.

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